an appropriate error

Anna Airoldi, the translator of Mind Hacks into Italian has noticed a fantastic error in the published book. She writes

(170) 1st paragraph of “How it works”;
I’m not entirely sure this is a real typo, considering the topic discussed in the paragraph, but “conservations” shouldn’t just be “conversations”?

She’s absolutely right – it should be ‘conversations’ not ‘conservations’. But although it is an error, in this case it is an appropriate error, because it appears in Hack #52 ‘Robust Processing Using Parallelism’ which discusses how we can read errorful or ambiguous sentences using multiple interacting levels of information to construct meaning. Normally this is a good thing, but it appears that in this particular instance the meaning was so obvious that our normally diligent editing process didn’t spot the mistake (my mistake in origin, incidentally)!

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